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03-08-2023 | Frank Jansen

UCI Gran Fondo World Championships preview

Between all the World Cup news about pro cycling, track cycling and other disciplines, you would almost forget that tomorrow the UCI World Cup Gran fondo will be held. CycloWorld is on site. Here's our preview!


Photo: last year's start in Trento.

History

The UCI Gran Fondo World Championships does not have a long history. The event only saw the light of day in 2011. Since the 2020 edition did not take place, this year's edition will be the 12th edition.

Last year the World Championships took place under sunny conditions in Trento, Italy. Full results can be found here.


Photo: last year's two Dutch world champions: Nicolien Luisterburg (l) and Martha Maltha (r)

The set-up

The concept has hardly changed in all these years. You have to qualify by riding among the top 25% in your age group in races belonging to the UCI Gran fondo World Series. At the World Championships, you ride for your country and therefore wear your country's jersey. There is usually hardly any team play: you ride for your own success.

The program

  • Friday, August 4: road race (gran fondo and medio fondo)
  • Monday, August 7: individual time trial

The past editions also included a mixed relay, but it is not provided now because of the Super World Cup.

Categories

For the road races, they will be started in categories, with five minutes between each. Some boxes will be merged because they are too small. What is certain is that the event will thus produce not one world champion but several. For the men there are 11, for the women 9. The distance you ride depends on your age. For the men, the schedule looks like this:

AgeDistance
19-34Gran fondo
35-39Gran fondo
40-44Gran fondo
45-49Gran fondo
50-54Gran fondo
55-59Gran fondo
60-64Medio fondo
65-69Medio fondo
70-74Medio fondo
75-79Medio fondo
80-84Medio fondo

And for the women, the list looks like this:

AgeDistance
19-34Gran fondo
35-39Gran fondo
40-44Gran fondo
45-49Gran fondo
50-54Medio fondo
55-59Medio fondo
60-64Medio fondo
65-69Medio fondo
70-74Medio fondo

Course

Gran fondo

The route starts in finishes in Perth, a city of about 45,000 inhabitants an hour from Glasgow. The course is 160 km long, has 1663 meters of elevation and only three climbs of 5-7 kilometers each. Men through 59 and women through 49 ride this route. More details can be found here.

Medio fondo

The shorter route has 85 km with 777 meters of elevation. Men over 59 and women over 49 ride the medio fondo. More info can be found here.

Time trial

The course of the time trial is also known. The route start and finish in Dundee is 22.8 km long and has only 89 meters of climbing.

Participants

All participants for both time trial and road race can be found here.

Contenders

The atypical course (by gran fondo standards) makes it impossible to point out favorites. Many gran fondo hotshots have stayed home and if they do come it is highly uncertain that they will play a significant role. Still, there are certainly a few familiar names present. Defending champions Stefan Kirchmair (AT), Laura Simenc (SI) and Martha Maltha (NL) will be there.

In addition, the list also finds some old acquaintances. How about Alexander Vinokurov (KZ), Mario Cipollini (IT), Johnny Hoogerland (NL) and Jeannie Longo (FR)?

What finally stands out is the large number of Belgians. Our friends from Granfondoteam.be will be at the start with no fewer than 46 riders (m/f). So the chances of a Belgian world champion(s) seem high! The men 19-34 will include Michiel Minnaert (multiple winner of La Marmotte), Vince Mattens (winner of Les 3 Ballons 2023) and Maxime Pirard (former world champion).

Weather

It may surprise you, but Friday's weather in Perth is predicted to be quite nice: about 18 degrees with some sun and a moderate wind force 3. The pros will be jealous of that, as beastly weather is predicted on Saturday. Incidentally, reasonably good weather is also forecast for the time trial on Monday.

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